Iranian president vows to boost trade with Pakistan to $10 billion annually

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif pledged Monday to increase trade between their countries to $10 billion a year. The commitment came as Raisi began a three-day visit to Pakistan amid heightened security in the capital.

The visit aims to improve relations after a year marked by reciprocal military strikes. “Both sides agreed to increase the volume of bilateral trade to $10 billion U.S. dollars within the next five years,” according to a statement from Sharif’s office following a joint news conference.

The leaders also agreed to develop joint strategies to address shared challenges, including terrorism, the statement added.

While specific current trade figures were not disclosed, the Business Recorder, a local media outlet, cited Iran’s then-ambassador to Pakistan last year, reporting bilateral trade exceeding $2 billion.

Accompanied by Iran’s foreign minister and other cabinet members, Raisi will also visit Lahore and Karachi.

Security measures for Raisi’s visit included major road closures in Islamabad, and the government declared public holidays in Karachi and Lahore.

Though Raisi’s trip signifies a move toward normalized relations with Islamabad, ultimate authority in Iran, including on nuclear policy, rests with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not the president.

The region remains tense after Iran’s recent attack on Israel and a retaliatory strike in central Iran last Friday, attributed to Israel.

Pakistan has urged all involved parties to de-escalate tensions.

At the news conference, Sharif praised Iran for its stance on Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and called for an immediate halt to the violence. He urged Muslim nations to collectively demand an end to the conflict.

Despite numerous trade agreements, Pakistan and Iran have experienced strained relations, with Pakistan historically aligning more closely with Saudi Arabia and the United States.